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UK house building 'remains a long way from recovery'

The state of the UK house building sector is not one that inspires great hope for the future at present, one sector expert has argued.

Steve Turner, head of communications at the Home Builders Federation, said the UK is now building fewer homes per year than was last seen in the 1920s and this is a situation which requires serious action in order to help offset the ongoing housing crisis.

However, he noted that the problem has probably not become any worse over the last 12 months, it is simply one that has not been properly addressed in recent years and so continues to rumble on.

Mr Turner commented: "House building has more or less flatlined. The significant constraints include that we are still lacking in affordable mortgage availability. NewBuy is starting to help, but there is still a long way to go."

He added that the lack of available land for new developments remains one of the biggest stumbling blocks to an ongoing recovery in the UK construction industry and while the introduction of a new planning system could pave the way for more available space for projects in the future, it remains to be seen how long it will take for the government's changes to the system to take hold.

House building makes up roughly ten per cent of UK construction output each year and in this respect the problem is not really growing. However, with the general market in a state of malaise at present, more needs to be done to stimulate growth.

According to the latest Markit/CIPS UK construction index, June 2012 saw the sharpest drop in UK construction output for the last two and a half years.

Contraction in the sector saw the index register a value of 48.2 per cent for month - down from 54.4 in May - highlighting a significant reduction in the number of new and existing projects that are on the books of UK contractors at present. 

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